Throughout September SEAHA student Natalie Brown has been conducting an innovative collection survey at Istituzione Biblioteca Classense in Ravenna, Italy. The project is a collaboration with Floriana Coppola, a SEAHA-aligned PhD student from the University of Bologna, who has recently spent six months working at the Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UCL.
The survey aims to measure the current condition of the library’s 14th to 20th Century collections using a combination of visual surveying techniques and NIR data, as well as assess how different environmental strategies will affect the collections in the future. This survey is the first of its kind as it is using damage functions with modelled NIR data to help improve future preservation policy. The library houses one of the most distinguished printed and manuscript collections in Italy; holding over 800 incunabula, including Italy’s first (De Oratore di Cicero printed in 1465), Camilo Morigia’s donated personal collection, and rare local historical records.
Within the library there is a strong focus on public access, by contributing to the ongoing environmental study, it is hoped that the survey’s results will aid in the preservation and continued access to many of Italy’s most treasured books.
Image © Istituzione Biblioteca Classense